Reflections of 2017
As the New Year draws near, it makes sense to press the pause button on holiday merry-making to reflect on 2017 book happenings I’ve been lucky enough to celebrate.
This spring I was a guest speaker for the Visiting Writers Forum at Ringling College of Art and Design, speaking to students and community members about my creative process and the picture book format (https://www.ringling.edu/visitingwritersforum).
In the summer I spoke with kids and grownups about research done for my historical nonfiction title, MOLLY, BY GOLLY!, at the Marion County Public Library, in Ocala, Florida. While in the area, I made stops at the Ocala Barnes and Noble bookstore as well as the B&N in the Villages for story hour appearances. I also did a story hour and signing at my hometown indie, Bookstore1Sarasota (http://www.bookstore1sarasota.com).
My picture books are now featured being read aloud by Eileen the Storyteller and her fun puppets on YouTube channel, ‘KidTime StoryTime.’ Here are the links:
A community in Baltimore featured IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT this summer. A StoryWalk is a walkway in an outdoor area (usually a park) that features mini-billboards installed for viewing the oversized reproductions of pages from picture books. Check out the story at http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/harford/aegis/ph-ag-eden-mill-events-0726-20170725-story.html
An interview with an international educational website and its founder, Dr. Natthapoij Vincent Trakulphadetkrai, about using math stories to help students learn important math concepts appeared in August. To check out the interview, go to http://www.mathsthroughstories.org/interview_dianne_ochiltree.html
A starred review (5 stars out of a possible 5 rating) was given this year for IT’S A SEASHELL DAY by Youth Services Book Reviews (https://ysbookreviews.wordpress.com/2017/10/02/its-a-seashell-day-written-by-dianne-ochiltree-and-illustrated-by-elliot-kreloff/).
I work throughout the year with emerging children’s writers through my one-on-one coaching and freelance editorial services. Outgrowths of this effort are my monthly ‘Ask Dianne’ posts on Kathy Temean’s blog, Writing and Illustrating (https://kathytemean.wordpress.com), as well as my monthly commitment as a volunteer judge for the ‘Rate Your Story’ website (http://rateyourstory.blogspot.com/).
In cyberspace, the books’ Facebook pages grew followers: MOLLY, BY GOLLY! increased by 80%; IT’S A SEASHELL DAY page grew by 279%; and IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT gained 6%. In life and on Facebook, friendship is a treasure! Sincere thanks to all who are my friends on my author page or follow my book pages.
Similarly, I was grateful to have connected with many new booklovers on Goodreads with several giveaways for my books. Goodreads rocks!
Another blessing is continued interest in my backlist titles, particularly when used for good causes. One example this year was IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT being selected by “Calling All Kids” program @ Morristown Medical Center (NJ), an initiative producing videos based on books by reading and animating the stories. For more info, go to: https://www.wammc.org/single-post/2015/06/11/Calling-All-Kids-1
This autumn, I had the opportunity to provide the Children’s Book Council with three questions (and responses) that as an author, I’ve never been asked but always wanted to answer, for a regular feature in their newsletter, set to appear the week of 12/18/17. Stay tuned!
A busy year, yes. Could I do this all by myself? No. I’ve been gifted with some great support. My patient and generous husband, for one. My fantastic publicist, Rebecca Grose, of SoCal Public Relations, for another. And a wonderful website guru, Steve Burnside, of Burnside Marketing, who has helped immensely this year design updates and share news about my books, appearances, etc. with all the book lovers who visit the site. It takes a village.
Wishing you and yours all the best at the holidays and throughout the coming year!